British Marxism and Cultural Studies : Essays on a living tradition book cover
1st Edition

British Marxism and Cultural Studies
Essays on a living tradition

ISBN 9780367596637
Published June 30, 2020 by Routledge
218 Pages

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Book Description

A comprehensive exploration of the profound influence of Marxist ideas on the development of Cultural Studies in Britain, this volume covers a century of Marxist writing, balancing synoptic accounts of the various schools of Marxist thought with detailed analyses of the most important writers. Arguing that a recognisably Marxist tradition of cultural analysis began in the last two decades of the nineteenth century and continues unbroken to the present day, British Marxism and Cultural Studies traces the links between contemporary developments in the field and the extended tradition of which they form a part. With discussion of figures such as Jack Lindsay, C.L.R. James, Julian Stallabrass and Mike Wayne, as well as the cultural thinking of the New Left, Gramscian, Althusserian and Political Economy schools, this book shows that the history of British cultural Marxism is broader and richer than many people realise. As such, it will be of interest to scholars and students of sociology, cultural studies, intellectual history and the history of the Left.

Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors

Introduction: Notes on a Living Tradition, (Philip Bounds)

1. Science, Art and Dissent: Jack Lindsay and the Communist Theory of Culture, (Philip Bounds)

2. The New Left and the Emergence of Cultural Studies, (Alan O'Connor)

3. Dialectics and the Fate of the Creative Individual: C.L.R. James, (David Berry)

4. From Folk to Jazz: Eric Hobsbawm, British Communism and Cultural Studies, (Philip Bounds)

5. The Gramscian Turn in British Cultural Studies: From the Birmingham School to Cultural Populism, (Steven Jones)

6. Blind Spots: Re-reading Althusser and Lacan in Cultural Studies, (Jason Barker)

7. Profit and Power: British Marxists on the Political Economy of the Media, (Enda Brophy and Vincent Mosco)

8. Them and Us in Contemporary Cultural Studies: Julian Stallabrass, Mike Wayne, Ben Watson, (David Renton)


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Philip Bounds holds a PhD in Politics from the University of Wales and has published widely on the intellectual history of the British left. His books include Orwell and Marxism, British Communism and the Politics of Literature and Notes from the End of History.

David Berry is Senior Lecturer in Media, Communication and Culture at Southampton Solent University, UK, and the author of The Romanian Mass Media and Cultural Development; and Journalism, Ethics and Society. He is co-editor of Public Policy and the Media and editor of Revisiting the Frankfurt School.


’A wide-ranging and bracing account of how various Marxisms have frequently formed the cutting edge of Cultural Studies in Britain. Diverse but thematically coherent, the collection impressively combines analysis of overlooked figures with robust revisionism and sharp readings of more recent formations. Required reading for anyone interested in the past and future of Marxism in Britain.’ Ben Harker, University of Manchester UK; author of Class Act: The Cultural and Political UK Life of Ewan MacColl and co-editor of British Communism: A Documentary History ’The great strength of this book is not only that it shows Marxism to be alive and well in cultural studies but also that it has contributed to the field for far longer than is often supposed. This is by no means simply a history of the ways in which Marxism and cultural studies have long intertwined but it is also an incisive and combative intervention in the field of cultural studies today.’ Julian Petley, Brunel University London, UK